Florence Police chase 400 lb Black Bear,captured near Carolinas - WBTW-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Florence, SC

Florence Police chase 400 lb Black Bear, captured near Carolinas Hospital

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FLORENCE, S.C. (WBTW) -Lt. Joe Ard with the Department of Natural Resources said he can't remember the last time a black bear was caught within city limits in Florence.  But he said as construction to build the city up continues, more bear sightings could become more likely.

"They're not very common, but will you see one? Yes you will," said Lt. Ard.  "We're going to see more of them, the more we build in their habitat, the more they're going to come out."

And around 3 on Friday morning, a 400-pound male black bear was spotted on S. Irby St; shortly after receiving the call, DNR officers were out with tranquilizer guns.  Lt. Ard said that after an officer shot the bear right outside the Sonic on S. Irby, that it took off running and they chased him for about a quarter of a mile until he collapsed right outside this Citizen's Bank on Freedom Blvd.

"They loaded him up, and took him to a suitable habitat, some property we own that's about 28,000 acres," he said.

Lt. Ard said that the summer months are the peak in the bears mating season, which is also when you will be more likely to spot a bear.  But there are some things you can do at home to make sure that a bear doesn't come to you.

"I think a bear can smell up to about 5 miles, so if you keep dog food out or cat food out, it's  a lot easier for them to eat a bowl full of dog food then to eat a handful of berries," said Ard.  "Keep your trash cans empty, keep the lids on them, if you have grills outside try to clean them, keep them covered up, any food source that they can get to, you need to keep it contained."

But if you do come into contact with a bear, Lt. Ard said you should contact your local DNR office or dial 9-1-1.

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